Does Blindness or Low Vision Have Anything to Do with Success?

By Jule Ann Lieberman, First Vice President

As many of you know, I have plenty of stories I tell. Some of which are examples of small successful moments, while others are about meeting larger challenges. Some of my stories reflect my personal experience and other times I relate stories that have been shared with me.

At our upcoming conference, the Vision Loss Resource Team will be holding a breakout session on Sharing Your Successes. The session, held Friday afternoon, October 19, will be a round table discussion giving participants the opportunity to share and hear how, as peers, we have surprised others or even ourselves by facing family, workplace, community, and life challenges. It will be a time for us to reflect on how we, as individuals who just happen to have little or no vision, find success in ways that are meaningful to us.
To get your thinking started I offer a few short insights into some of my own personal successes.

For many years I was the “stay at home Mom” of three active children. Our home was frequently the “hang out” after school or on weekends for a variety of neighborhood children. My oldest son was the neighborhood activity organizer, so it was not uncommon for a group of four or more young boys to be playing video games in our home. On one day, the group, which included the son of a famous baseball player, was getting rowdy playing a sports related video game. I can only assume that the ball player’s son was accustomed to rough locker room talk. The language police were on high attention because my daughter, only five years old, was in the next room in clear ear-shot of the boys. I stepped into the doorway and promptly caught the attention of the boys by stating emphatically, “Gentlemen, and I use this term very loosely here, I ask you to refrain from foul language while in my home.” All heads bowed and each sounded an apology. I added that my son would be quite upset if he heard his little sister spouting those foul words.

As I walked away and down the hall, I heard the baseball player’s son ask my son, “Well Jerre, I know your Mom cannot see much, but does she have radar or something?” My son’s response was, “I know she does not see much, but she does not miss a trick”. I take pride that this was a small but meaningful parenting moment.

Another example of surprising success for me was during a time when I was being overwhelmed with doing graduate schoolwork, keeping my non-profit organization open and tending to family needs. I arrived in one of my lab sessions on Salus campus to find out that one of my fellow classmates was surprised that I had so little vision. Most of our coursework was online, so it was the first time we were meeting face-to-face. She remarked that I always was the first to upload my assignments and join the discussion boards. It was apparent to her that I was earning good grades. She was fully sighted and stated that she had trouble completing the work and keeping up with the discussion board. My response was that I am accustomed to working extra hard because it routinely takes me more time or greater creativity to get tasks done than it typically takes a sighted person to accomplish. I think she left the conversation with a better understanding of the creativity and dedication to work that persons who are blind or have little vision can achieve. That’s a big success in my book!

Please consider joining the Vision Loss Resource Team either in person or consider contacting us to arrange to join us from a distance. We all have success stories. It’s time to shine the light and blow your horn!

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